<This Review contains Mild Spoilers>
While the film has it’s elements of horror and a splash of science fiction, you shouldn’t mistake this for anything other than comedy. The tone of the film is set during the opening sequence, a silly song being sung by some old miner types, describing the story that led th the events of the film. A perfect way to prepare you for what follows. Hats off to Campbell for being able to poke fun at everything he has ever done. The film is full of bits from past movies. Classic lines and familiar facial expressions to anyone with an appreciation of Campbell’s work. You’ll also find frequent appearances by his close friend Ted Raimi, a man who has appeared in a number of Bruce’s other films. In every aspect, this film is a nod to Bruce’s career and his life in the “limelight.”
That is the biggest success of the film. Bruce Campbell mocking himself at every turn. You could say that the man has little acting skill, that all of his movies are garbage, that he has never been anything more than low grade actor. But I’d have to disagree with you. Campbell’s sense of humor is both witty and sarcastic. The film touches on everything Campbell is most well known for: his acting career, his image as a wannabe debonair playboy, and everything in between. Campbell is so good at playing the charismatic, sarcastic, chauvinistic, arrogant, ass-hole type hero. Yet he always ends up being the like able hero that no one expects his characters to become. That is exactly what makes his movies so enjoyable. Despite the poor stories and questionable acting, Bruce Campbell himself is a sight to see in all of his movies. There are definitely parts of this film that were made for his fans, the people who have seen Campbell’s movies.
As far as the plot is concerned, it is everything Bruce Campbell fans have come to expect from his work. It is very cheesy and over the top. The “villain” or “monster” or whatever you want to call it, is ridiculous. A Chinese mine worker turned violent and murderous mummy, conveniently dressed in samurai attire. Great stuff. As the story progresses, you’ll notice all the sequences that are so prevalent in “B” movies. Bad acting from the supporting cast, cheesy dialogue, lower tier F/X and lots and lots of quick gags. It doesn’t have the makings of a movie that would be enjoyed by everyone, but it clearly wasn’t made for everyone.
In the film, Bruce is kidnapped and taken to a small town for a showdown with the aforementioned villain terrorizing the town. These “simple folk” believe that Bruce really is a hero and creature slayer. And Bruce is convinced that this is all a set up by his agent as a birthday surprise. He goes along with all of it, pretending to be the man the town truly wants, all the while unaware of the impending doom. This premise serves as a great set up for the films funniest jokes. Consider the role Bruce is playing. Bruce Campbell is playing Bruce Campbell who is playing a heroic character frequently played by Campbell. Reminded me of Robert Downey Jr’s role in Tropic Thunder. As the film begins to come to resolution, you’ll find Campbell’s portrayal of Campbell is just as it always is in all of his movies. He is a big fake and a big joke, but he always becomes the hero in the end.
My Name is Bruce is a movie made by Bruce for fans of Bruce. The film was made and financed by Bruce Campbell. When finished, Campbell himself drove across country in his very own vehicle to premiere the film to audiences in select cities. Most of the audiences were filled with die hard Campbell fans. And that fact was not lost on him. He spent time before and after the showing of the film at each location to meet and greet with his fans, and to sign autographs for the people who have supported him when Hollywood would’ve thrown him on his ass and into the gutter. The man’s whole career is based on immense fan support. Despite the characters he so frequently plays, Bruce Campbell is a genuinely nice guy, and this was on display at each viewing.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Bruce’s name is mentioned a ridiculous number of times. That was intentional. Just as this review is all about Bruce Campbell, so is this film all about Bruce Campbell. The film is set to release on DVD soon, so you can pick it up at any store. But the true experience was to go to the showings with Bruce. To meet the man and to see how different he really is from the characters he plays. It is something special. The movie is good enough to warrant spending the money on, especially if you are a Bruce Campbell fan. This is a must buy for “B” movie fans and Bruce Campbell fans everywhere. The movie is very entertaining, and extremely funny. Make no mistake, this is a comedy intended for fans of camp. The movie acknowledges that, and even embraces that. Long story short, this movie is everything a Bruce Campbell fan could possibly want. What could be better than that?
My Name is Bruce will be released on DVD on February 10th